Hybrid Cloud Management, Don’t Get Lost in the Cloud

Todd Matters, Cofounder and Chief Architect, RackWare

4 Hybrid Cloud Management Challenges that Organizations Must Solve

For most organizations, the move to hybrid cloud is now a question of when, not if. Fully 82% of enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud strategy this year, according to Infoholic Research. The worldwide hybrid cloud computing market is expected to grow about 34% annually over the next five years, reaching $241.13 billion by 2022.

Companies are embracing hybrid cloud because of the many advantages it offers compared to relying on a single provider for all of their cloud needs. Hybrid offers balance and flexibility. It helps companies achieve a wide array of business goals, including availability, reliability, security and cost-efficiency.

Still, there are a number of challenges associated with hybrid cloud. Here are four management issues that companies need to address to enjoy a successful hybrid cloud implementation.

Managing complexity. More clouds can sometimes mean more problems. The more clouds you blend together, the more complex your situation becomes. Some organizations are standardizing on two or three public clouds, along with multiple private clouds and data centers. And those cloud environments have very different characteristics and very different interfaces. Customers may be able to readily monitor and manage each individual cloud environment. But supporting and managing all the diverse cloud platforms and getting them to play nice together can be a serious challenge. To bridge the gap among those environments you need a proper abstraction layer that lets you meet the specific needs of your different cloud platforms while making them simple and easy to use.

Managing costs. In many hybrid cloud environments, workloads running in the cloud are not required 24/7 but rather at particular times throughout the day or the week. The last thing you want to do is pay for cloud usage when you’re not actually using it. What’s more, the cost of a virtual machine in a private cloud may be different from the cost in a public cloud. So how do you charge for a virtual machine? How do you delete a virtual machine that’s not in use so you no longer get charged for it and then, at the appropriate time, quickly re-provision that machine when it’s needed? You must be able to automatically park and un-park your virtual machines, in any environment, at critical predetermined times to ensure adequate capacity during peak periods and cost savings during non-peak periods.

Managing compliance. Another significant challenge in a hybrid cloud environment is the managing of audit trails and compliance. Companies today spend tens of millions of dollars on compliance. They are constantly subjected to routine audits during which they need to prove they are adhering to a particular compliance rule by providing the appropriate approvals and reports. Showing compliance is especially complicated in a hybrid cloud because there are many differences across those disparate environments. Simply producing a consistent set of log messages and audit trails between OpenStack, Azure and Amazon Web Services, for instance, is no easy task. So as organizations move to hybrid cloud, automation is essential to keep track of what resources users have touched, which systems were provisioned, what tests were run, what errors were encountered, and when users logged on and off. That’s how you can ensure full operational compliance.

Managing migration. Migrating to the hybrid cloud can be a complex and labor-intensive initiative, especially when the project is in the hundreds or even thousands of workloads. Hybrid IT environments have great potential to improve and streamline IT operations. But simply having access to a cloud environment doesn’t necessarily help integrate existing applications or smooth out deployment of greenfield workloads. Realizing the benefits of hybrid cloud requires that existing applications have easy and flexible mobility into existing private and public cloud environments. Even greenfield applications require mobility among clouds and environments to be effective and economical.

The good news is that all these concerns can be mitigated if your hybrid cloud environment is well managed. There are hybrid cloud management solutions to help you monitor usage, performance and costs across your hybrid cloud environment. These solutions can also bring intelligence and automation to your hybrid cloud environment, enabling your organization to easily and cost-effectively leverage a variety of cloud platforms and technologies tailored to your needs.

RackWare’s Hybrid Cloud Management Suite